Podcasts

PODCAST: Miranda Yardley on being a gender critical transwoman

The debate around transgenderism and feminism feels as though it’s getting ever-more heated. Journalist, Michelle Goldberg, wrote about the rift recently for The New Yorker, explaining the crux of the argument as such: Trans women say that they are women because they feel female—that, as some put it, they have women’s brains in men’s bodies. Radical feminists reject the notion of a “female brain.” They believe that if women think and act differently from men it’s because society forces them to, requiring them to be sexually attractive, nurturing, and deferential. On August 11th BBC’s Newsnight had planned a discussion on retired boxing promoter Frank Maloney’s announcement that she is in the process of transitioning and is now known as Kellie Maloney, and more generally, what it means to “identify...
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PODCAST: Astrid Henry on her new book, ‘Feminism Unfinished: A Short, Surprising History of American Women’s Movements’

Some say we are now witnessing the beginnings of a fourth wave of feminism. While it is arguable whether or not describing feminism in terms of “waves” still makes sense today, there have been three to date. The reality and history of these waves, though, is often misunderstood, ignored, forgotten or turned into overly simplistic and misrepresentative stereotypes. In this episode, I speak with Astrid Henry, one of the authors of a soon-to-be-released book called Feminism Unfinished: A Short, Surprising History of American Women s Movements, about what is often left out of our understanding of feminist history, ageism in the feminist movement, generational conflicts, and tensions between second and third wave feminism. Podcast: Play in new window | Download...
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PODCAST: Is ‘natural’ better when it comes to birth? An interview with Dr. Amy Tuteur

In this episode we continue to explore the natural birth movement and the debate around medicalized birth vs so-called “natural birth.” On the last show I spoke with Ness Fraser, a doula and reproductive rights activist from Ontario. This week we hear from Dr. Amy Tuteur, an obstetrician gynecologist, graduate of Harvard and the Boston University School of Medicine, a former clinical instructor at Harvard Medical School, and the author of How Your Baby is Born.  She blogs about parenting, pseudoscience, homebirth, natural childbirth, and vaccine rejectionism at The Skeptical OB.     Podcast: Play in new window | Download...
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Podcasts

PODCAST: Reframing the ‘natural birth’ vs. ‘medicalized birth’ dichotomy with Ness Fraser

In this episode we explore the debate around “natural birth” vs. “medicalized birth” — an issue that has been quite controversial among women, feminists, and, more generally, society as a whole. But is that dichotomy a necessary one? Is natural birth “better,” is medicalized birth “worse?” Is there a middle ground? What kind of pressure is placed on pregnant women as a result of these debates? Ness Fraser is a full-spectrum doula, reproductive rights activist, and midwifery care advocate. She has supported low-income and immigrant women in Toronto through pregnancy, birth, and abortion and hopes to attend midwifery school in the future. I spoke with her about the natural birth movement, the medicalization of birth, the debate that’s happening within feminist discourse, and options for pregnant women in Canada,...
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Podcasts

PODCAST: Janine Benedet & Alice Lee on Canada’s proposed prostitution legislation, Bill C-36

In 2007, lawyer, Alan Young, initiated a case challenging Canada’s prostitution laws as unconstitutional. After the Supreme Court of Canada struck down the laws criminalizing pimping, communicating for the purposes of prostitution, and running a brothel, the federal government was given a year to come up with new laws. Bill C-36, The Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act, was unveiled on June 4th. Justice Minister Peter MacKay called it a “uniquely Canadian response.” The Bill explicitly targets demand and exploitation, criminalizing those who buy sex and those who profit from the exploitation of prostitutes. It also prohibits advertising sexual services unless a person is advertising their own services. One provision that is concerning to many advocates is that the proposed legislation would criminalize communicating for the purposes of...
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PODCAST: Soraya Chemaly on Elliot Rodger, PUAHate, and #YesAllWomen

On May 23 in Isla Vista, California, 22-year-old Elliot Rodger murdered six people and wounded 13 more. Rodger had written a 140-page manifesto and produced a number of videos on YouTube outlining his motivation for the attack. He was angry at women. It was discovered that Rodger frequented PUAHate forums which writer, Erin Gloria Ryan, describes as such: PUAHate, as other outlets have discussed, is an offshoot of the Pick Up Artist community populated by men (and, allegedly, women) who believe Pick Up Artistry to be a sham waste of money not because women are more than “targets” and “prey,” but because women are fucking hopeless cunts who can’t be convinced to give nice guys a chance. Women, argue PUAHaters, will only go out with good looking alpha males...
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PODCAST: ‘Private Violence’ explores the epidemic of domestic abuse

In this episode, Meghan Murphy speaks with Kit Gruelle, who is part of a new documentary called “Private Violence,” which examines the epidemic of domestic violence and follows a number of survivors of abuse and the advocates who support them. This show includes clips from the film which contain descriptions of violence that may upset or trigger some listeners. Podcast: Play in new window | Download...
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Podcasts

PODCAST: Misogyny Re-loaded — An interview with Abigail Bray

In this episode I speak with Abigail Bray, the author of Misogyny Re-loaded, which has been described as “an explosive manifesto against the resurgent sexual fascism of the new world order.” The book addresses things like snuff pornography in “gore culture,” ageism, rape jokes, and the positive thinking movement in order to expose the various ways in which the feminist movement is being systematically weakened and the ways in which women and women’s human rights are under attack. Misogyny Re-loaded is published by Spinifex Press.  Podcast: Play in new window | Download...
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PODCAST: Cherry Smiley on Indigenous feminism, colonial violence and the sex industry

In this episode we hear a talk by Cherry Smiley. The talk is part of a series on Indigenous Feminism, put on by the First Nations Student Association at Simon Fraser University. Cherry is a front line anti-violence worker, an accomplished artist, activist, and public speaker. She is a co-founder of Indigenous Women Against the Sex Industry and was the recipient of a 2013 Governor General’s Award in Commemoration of the Person’s Case. Cherry is currently completing a Masters of Fine Arts degree, her art practice is one that is deeply passionate and inherently political, grounded in her experiences as an Indigenous woman, radical feminist theory, and in the teachings handed down to her by her Elders. This year, she exhibited Revolution Songs, an installation that focused on the...
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PODCAST: Angela Lytle on the ‘comfort women’ of Japan

I find that the best way to learn and really understand how complex the issue is is to look at the intersectional discrimination — that they were women, they were women in a patriarchal society, they were colonized women, they were poor women — and it put them in a particular situation that made it possible not only for a system of sexual slavery to be envisioned but also to have the utter impunity around the crimes that had been committed against these women. And to this day people look askance at them, even in Korea. It’s not a straightforward issue, even though it’s often represented as an “ethnic issue” between two countries… you can see how systemic oppression shaped these women’s lives from beginning to finish and the...
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Podcasts

PODCAST: Decolonizing women’s history — Max Dashu on recovering women’s history

Why does women’s history matter? It seems like a simple answer — because we’re here, we’ve contributed and we’re human. But there’s more. Max Dashu has dedicated her life’s work to recovering the truth about women’s and indigenous histories — truths that have been omitted and erased from history books and misrepresented by the men who wrote those books. Without that history we don’t know how we came to be in this colonialist, patriarchal system and we don t know that there is a potential for something different. The saying, “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” is an ominous warning — patriarchy didn’t occur out of thin air, it was part of a process wherein women’s positions of power were eroded and women were...
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Podcasts

PODCAST: Are breast implants ‘for you?’

Are breast implants “just for you?” In this episode, I speak with Lexie Kite of Beauty Redefined about the idea that breast implants build self-esteem and are simply a personal choice women make, as well as the possible health consequences of getting this kind of surgery. Lexie Kite completed her PhD in the study of media and body image at the University of Utah. You can learn more about her work at Beauty Redefined. Podcast: Play in new window | Download...
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PODCAST: Amnesty International supports legalizing prostitution & Canada strikes down their current laws. What’s next?

Last month a proposal from Amnesty International advocating for the legalization of prostitution was leaked. Feminists and women’s rights organizations around the world were appalled — why was an organization that had done so much work for human rights legitimizing a violent and exploitative industry such as prostitution? Why were they advocating for men’s “right to buy sex?” Meanwhile Canada will be drafting new legislation with regard to prostitution as the Supreme Court struck down the current ones as unconstitutional. On January 28th, I spoke with Rachel Moran, activist and author of “Paid For:My Journey Through Prostitution;” Bridget Perrier, a prostitution survivor and co-founder and First Nations educator at Sextrade 101; and Kathleen Barry, Professor Emerita, author of Female Sexual Slavery, and founder of Coalition Against Trafficking in Women...
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PODCAST: Is there rape culture in politics? A panel discussion

This episode features a panel discussion on rape culture in politics. The panel took place on January 29, 2014 at the University of British Columbia (UBC) and was organized by The Canadian Women Voters Congress and the UBC Centre for the Study of Democratic Institutions. Panelists are (in order of appearance): Irene Tsepnopoulos-Elhaimer, Executive Director at Women Against Violence Against Women Rape Crisis Centre (WAVAW); Grace Lore, a PhD Candidate in Political Science at UBC; Ellen Woodsworth, an activist, a founder of Women Transforming Cities, and a former Vancouver City Councillor; and Meghan Murphy, writer, journalist, and founder of Feminist Current. Podcast: Play in new window | Download...
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PODCAST: Defending battered women on trial: An interview with Elizabeth Sheehy

In this episode, I speak with Elizabeth Sheehy about her new book, which looks at the cases of eleven women who are accused of killing their male partners in self-defense. The book is called: Defending Battered Women on Trial: Lessons From the Transcripts, and it highlights the barriers women face leaving their abusers as well as the legal issues that face battered women on trial for murder. Elizabeth Sheehy is Shirley Greenberg Professor of Women and the Legal Profession in the Faculty of Law at the University of Ottawa. She is a leading scholar on the legal system’s treatment of battered women in Canada. Podcast: Play in new window | Download...
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PODCAST: Looking at intersections of class, race, and gender in substance abuse

When it comes to issues of substance abuse and addiction, many recovery models have been criticized as being geared towards men or said not to take into account the realities of women’s lives and experiences. Issues like sexual and physical abuse tend to factor heavily into the histories of women dealing with substance abuse. Beyond that, stereotypes around race, gender and class have impacted the way we think about addiction and treat those who are dealing with substance abuse issues. In this episode, Meghan Murphy speaks with Laura Schmidt, a Professor of Health Policy in the School of Medicine at the University of California in San Francisco. She is the author of dozens of articles on the intersections of gender, race, poverty and addiction. Listen to that interview below.    ...
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PODCAST: Is there such a thing as a ‘male brain’ or a ‘female brain?’

Feminists have long argued against the notion of innate ‘female’ or ‘male’ characteristics, pointing out the ways in which socialization impacts and shapes our behaviour. Yet a recent study out of Penn Medicine claims that there are, in fact, ‘hardwired difference between male and female brains’ that explain why men are supposedly better at certain tasks than women and vice versa. In this episode, I speak with Rebecca Jordan-Young, a sociomedical scientist at Barnard College and the author of Brain Storm: The Flaws in the Science of Sex Differences, about the study. Podcast: Play in new window | Download...
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